A Great victory for the TRNC in the European courts. On the 1st of March 2010 the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) accepted that the ‘Independent Property Commission’ (IPC) set up by Turkey and TRNC in 2005 is able to provide an effective solution for Greek Cypriots to either to be repatriated with their land or alternatively receive compensation should the land be occupied.
Greek Cypriots (GC) have consistently tried to disregard the IPC board claiming it is biased and does not provide an effective solution to the land issues in Cyprus. Hence a court action was lodged with the ECHR against Turkey by 8 Greek Cypriot applicants who upheld that they had been prevented from enjoying their property following the invasion and that there was no effective remedy in respect of their rights. The chamber hearing was held in November 2009.
The Greek Cypriot government have made it difficult for their citizens to apply to the board for compensation, essentially condemning them for doing so. In essence it was felt this would undermine their argument that there is an effective solution for land issues in the Northern Cyprus. TRNC and Turkey however have been pushing for the ECHR to accept the IPC as an effective solution to the land issue. So far 433 cases have been filed with the IPC of these 85 cases have been concluded, the vast majority by means of friendly settlement. In more than 70 cases, compensation had been awarded and some 361,493m2 of land had been returned and approximately 47 million Euros in compensation paid.
After reviewing the evidence the decision was made by the Grand Chamber of the ECHR that the IPC did provide an effective framework for the remedy of existing land issues. They did not find the board subjective or find that the sums awarded by the IPC fell short of being reasonable. This is a real coup for TRNC as there is now have an effective remedy which has been ratified by the ECHR for Greek Cypriot complaints regarding land issues. In addition home owners concerned about their deeds in TRNC following the Orams ruling can now feel comforted in the knowledge that there is an effective body to deal with any claims against their property. It is now widely expected that the 1400 cases which are pending with the ECHR will be referred to the IPC .
To read the full ECHR decision go to: www.echr.coe.int